but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)
How humbling it is to know that though I hated Him, He loved me, and in His due time, He brought me to salvation.
I'm often struck by Jonathan Edwards' sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. the image of the gossamer thread holding us aloft while we dangle unknowingly over the open flame of hell is a potent one. I wrote this poem, and then below my poem are the excerpts from which I took inspiration from Edwards sermon and his book religious Affections.
With all Due Gratitude Toward the One Who is Able to Save
By Elizabeth Prata
A slender thread
to keep me from the flame
The slender thread
The blood of Christ
My sin my shame
His blood sufficed
He lifted me from the muck and mire
Forever free from damning hellfire
Turning to Him who loves and saves
Fearing never the darkest graves
The slender thread pierced my cold dead soul
To worship life's eternal flame
In one fell stroke
Sin's power no longer my yoke
What sweet refrain can I freely sing
What joy in Jesus forevermore,
His blood it banished
My sins from east to west, O King!
"There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God." -- By the mere pleasure of God, I mean his sovereign pleasure, his arbitrary will, restrained by no obligation, hindered by no manner of difficulty, any more than if nothing else but God's mere will had in the least degree, or in any respect whatsoever, any hand in the preservation of wicked men one moment.
O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, ~Jonathan Edwards,Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
After the Bad News, comes the Good News
1 Peter 1:8: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Their joy was full of glory. Although the joy was unspeakable, and no words were sufficient to describe it, yet something might be said of it, and no words more fit to represent its excellency than these, that it was full of glory; or, as it is in the original, glorified joy. In rejoicing with this joy, their minds were filled, as it were, with a glorious brightness, and their natures exalted and perfected. It was a most worthy, noble rejoicing, that did not corrupt and debase the mind, as many carnal joys do; but did greatly beautify and dignify it; it was a prelibation of the joy of heaven, that raised their minds to a degree of heavenly blessedness; it filled their minds with the light of God's glory, and made themselves to shine with some communication of that glory. ~Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections